ITV and Prime Video’s Vanity Fair series is based on the William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1847 novel of the same name. It is highly popular among young women because of its storyline which is primarily focused on “the antihero” Becky Sharp, played by Olivia Cooke, best known for her role in Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg. Becky is smart, shrewd, calculating and pretty and uses her charm to seduce the men of English high society, on her way up the social ladder. Vanity Fair premiered on September 2, 2018, on ITV.
As per the Gwyneth Hughes, the writer of the series, she fell in love with the book the first time she read it and hoped to be able to translate a story like that on-screen someday. That the story is unusually modern and transcends generations is what attracted her to be part of the series. Gwyneth said: “It seems so modern to me. Everyone in Vanity Fair marries the wrong person. Everyone thinks the wrong things are important. Everyone still does! And the story of a group of very young people, living in a world they did not create and don’t much like – how modern is that?”
Vanity Fair Plot: What is it about?
Vanity Fair is a classical drama series recounted in seven parts which tell the story of Becky Sharp who is a woman seeking to climb the ladder of the English Society and break out of poverty during and post-Napoleonic Era. She is beautiful and holds no moral restrictions on her actions to chase or even seduce a gentleman with enormous wealth; sometimes even married men, in order to reach her aim of establishing herself as one of the elites of English society.
The series also follows Amelia, a decent-looking girl, often ignored by men and women but appreciated by those who come to know her. She believes in the concept of pride, honour and starts out as an epitome of the protagonist woman of that era. She is rich and kind-natured. One could easily predict her to be the hero of the story at the initial stage of the story, but her incapability to react to her husband’s infidelity (his affair with Becky) where she chooses rather to stay devoted to him than confront him shows her lack to strength to fight the stressful situation. She ends up losing everything at the end of the series which makes the narrator acknowledge her as “not the protagonist” of the story. The series also covers the story of their accompanying families and friends.
The 1848 novel barely has any happy endings, the closest it comes to a happy ending is with Dobbin realizing that Amelia wasn’t worth the effort. However, the series has its own twists and doesn’t exactly follow the ending of the novel.
The series ends with Becky left with a constant source of money resulting from the death of her husband. Becky and Amelia meet each other, and their relationship undergoes a change such that the two might start an unlikely friendship.